Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18)
It seems as though the woman’s role of submitting herself to her husband is often mistaken as “weakness.” Because of a failure to seek God’s wisdom, people lean on their own understanding, and settle on their own ideas of what makes a woman strong. This dangerous mindset is foolish, and shows a lack of faith in God (Proverbs 3:5; 28:26)! When carnal minds inaccurately view the submissive woman as weak, they encourage her to be someone different from whom God desires. Do not be fooled! Women serving God must have strength. Not the world’s idea that says, “I am so strong I do not need a man!” kind of strength; but godly strength that comes from sitting at the feet of Jesus.
There are different aspects of life that require strength from a woman. I am reminded of the godly woman described for us in Proverbs 31:
She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. (verse 17)
Women need physical strength… to endure pregnancy and childbirth, to care for her children as they grow, to keep up with household duties, fight sickness, etc. Our physical bodies must be strong enough to carry out our daily tasks, and we should strengthen ourselves accordingly.
A lot of women are considered to be “overly emotional.” In addition to physical strength, there is also a need for us to have mental/emotional strength. This fortitude will be shown in our attitude and demeanor. Again, let us look at the Proverbs 31 woman:
Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. (verse 25)
We shouldn’t become frantic, worried, and emotional over every situation, but remain calm and controlled. A dear friend said it is the calming strength we strive for that sets the tone in our homes. Indeed, it is. Let’s read about Mary and Martha in Luke 10:
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
It is easy to be like Martha; working ourselves into a frenzy as we try to complete the tasks set before us. However, it is the calm strength of Mary that allowed her to learn at the feet of Jesus. We may miss opportunity to learn from God if we are always overwhelmed by the circumstances around us. Even when faced with truly troubling and difficult times, we can remain strong and calm when we put our confidence in Christ, and meditate upon His promises and faithfulness!
Finally, we want to examine the importance of being strong spiritually. This is the most important strength of all; for it is spiritual strength that allows us to become godly women, fulfilling the role God has given us. It takes spiritual strength to submit to our husbands. It is not a weakness, as the world would have you to believe. Any submissive woman can tell you that practicing self-control is not for the feeble! It takes spiritual strength to care for our children and teach them God’s way. We must be strong to discipline our children, even when it seems easier to overlook. Our children will know us as weak if we are not consistent in correction! It takes spiritual strength to remain calm and confident in times of trouble. We must endure when we feel like giving up, finding strength in God’s promises. It takes spiritual strength to teach the gospel to the lost, taking advantage of opportunity instead of shirking responsibility. And it takes spiritual strength to overcome the enemy. Ephesians 6:10-17 describes how we obtain this strength and why it is needful for us.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Remember that it takes a lot more strength to do what is right, than to go along with the rest of the world, or to do what we think is easier at the time. The strength shown by the Proverbs 31 woman and Mary is the strength we should desire! This strength will come from God, as we fear Him (Proverbs 31:30) and take time to learn from His son, Jesus Christ (Luke 10:39,42). Even though the world may call us weak, we do not seek to conform ourselves to their definition of strong. Our desire is to please God! Therefore, we seek His will, submit ourselves to Him, and He will help us become godly women, clothed in strength.